Saturday, August 31, 2013


Happy Weekend, Halloweenies!
It's shopping day, and besides picking up some eye of newt and bar-b-q bat wings.... I just love to peruse the wine section in my local grocery store, and read all the wine labels. Not only are they pretty, but some are so intriguing that I just have to take them home and try them. I guess that the idea, right?

Well, I guess that's what lead to my love of wine....

And you know, you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a really good bottle of wine. I admit, there are some very expensive wines, that I really didn't care for. So I decided that if I like it, the price shouldn't be a factor. (And by that, I mean under $20.00)

I have a friend who is quite a wine expert... and will NOT even look at a bottle of wine, if it doesn't cost at least $25.00! (How silly is that?)

So, I try at lease once every week or two, I'll try a new bottle of wine. Some are great, some not so great... but you know, I don't feel so bad if I don't like it.... because I can always use it to cook with! (So it's really a win-win)

But I do get asked a lot, what are some of my favorite wines to serve at dinner parties.... and you know, I always try to have a variety. (Usually 3 or 4 bottles to choose from, for a dinner party) And if they have a macabre twist.... the better! I even have friends who'll bring me wines, they think I might want to try. (How cool is that?)

So in addition to the price, I also "loosely" follow the white wine for chicken and fish.... and red wines for red meat/beef, and pasta rule. I am a firm believer in drink what you want.... if you like it, who cares about the rules!

But red wines seem to be the favorites, and the ones I get asked most about. And like I said, I'm no expert... but here are my top picks for any spooktacular dinner party.... Have a great weekend! Cheers!


The Queen of Halloween's Wine Recommendations:
Bone Dry Red
Gnarly Head ~ Old Vine Zin
Dearly Beloved
Seven Deadly Zins

Friday, August 30, 2013


Happy Friday Halloweenies! How would you like something devilishly sweet today? Here's a spooky twist on a Classic Favorite! Every good Halloween Homemaker should have this recipe in their bag of tricks....

  • 1 3/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup(s) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon(s) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, combined with above, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon(s) coarse salt
  • 1 can(s) (15-ounce) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup(s) heavy cream
  • 5 ounce(s) (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounce(s) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup(s) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon(s) light corn syrup
  • Spiced Pastry Cream (Recipe below)      
  • Candy spiders (optional)

  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, line bottom with parchment, and butter parchment. Dust with cocoa powder, and tap out excess.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk pumpkin, oil, and cream in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with pumpkin mixture, starting and ending with flour. Divide batter between pans, and spread evenly.
  3. Bake until testers inserted into centers of cakes come out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire racks, remove parchment, and let cool.
  4. Make the glaze: Place chocolate in a food processor. Bring cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan, whisking to combine. Pour over chocolate, and process until smooth.
  5. To assemble the cake: Trim top of 1 cake to create a flat surface. Reserve trimmings for another use. Place cake, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread chilled pastry cream over cake, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with remaining cake, bottom side up, and press gently to spread pastry cream to edge. Stir chocolate glaze, then ladle over top of cake so some drips down sides. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or, preferably, overnight. Decorate with candy spiders if desired.
Spiced Pastry Cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 3 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 ounce(s) (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter

  1. Whisk yolks and sugar in a small bowl. Mix cornstarch and flour in another small bowl. Bring milk, salt, and spices to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk cornstarch mixture into yolk mixture, and then immediately whisk 2 tablespoons milk mixture into yolk mixture. Whisk in remaining milk mixture in a slow, steady stream.
  2. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to thicken and registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, and whisk in vanilla and butter until smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and thick, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day).
For more spookified recipes, be sure to check out!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I've had quite a few questions about my "Be Our Guest" post, from last week..... so, you're not quite sure how to decorate your bathroom during the Halloween season? After all, you need it to be functional.... and sometimes, cobwebs and bloody towels all over the place, just won't cut it.

That can be a real dilemma for any Halloween homemaker..... fun or functional? Well, how about both?

These towels from Anna 's Esty shop are so pretty (and spooky).... why couldn't you use them all year long?

 I say..... it's time to get yourself a cup of your favorite witch's brew, a good scary book... and have a good soak. You deserve it.

Be sure to check out all the cool stuff from Heritage Embroidery on Esty!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


One of my fellow Halloweenies had sent me this picture they found on Pinterest, and wanted to know how to replicate it.

Well, I haven't been able to find it, to give the creator proper credit.... so if you see it, or know who it is, please let me know, so I can be sure to include a link to their project.

But as for recreating this fantastic prop, I'm not exactly sure how they did it, but here's what I would suggest.....

To do a successful project like this.... it's all in the planning. You have a photo for a reference, so that actually helps quite a bit.

Start with the pedestal. It looks wooden, but any material will do. Just make sure the base will be big enough to hold a large, round glass bowl, UPSIDE DOWN. (With the opening resting on the base of the pedestal) It also looks like the bowl fits right inside the rim of the table to make it look more custom made.

If you're having a problem finding a base and a bowl that fits, you could always add a black, silver or gold, fabric cord trim (that you could find at any fabric store) and hot glue it around the opening of the bowl, to complete the project.

Now to make Madame Leota..... What I would do is find a good picture (go to the www) and find good close up picture of Madame Leota's face.... and enlarge it on a copier. Cut it out, leaving about and inch or two, the whole way around.

Once it's a size that will be able to fit in the bowl, then using watercolor paint, lightly shade in the face, with green. Let dry.

To make the face stand up, I suggest using a piece of foam core board, cut in the same size as the picture. Make a base by creating slit in another piece of foam core, and slip the bottom of the photo/foam core into the slit, and add some hot glue for extra strength. Make sure that the photo can stand up on it's own.

Now, once that's done..... it's time to add the black (or gray) tulle. If you're not familiar with tulle, it's a lightweight mesh fabric that comes on a spool, that you can get at any fabric store.

I would scrunch up some of the tulle and hot glue it to the edges of the standing piece. Once that looks the way you want it to, then carefully place the piece in the bowl.... but be sure to keep the opening of the bowl at the bottom, as you place it over the standing piece.

Stand back and take a look at it. Now you'll want to make a mental note of how high you want to pile the scrunched up tulle. Then take the remaining tulle (or another spool), and with the head still inside the bowl, add more of the tulle, until it looks as if the head is "floating" inside the bowl. Be sure to use this photo as a reference, so you know how it should look.

As I mentioned before, if you're using a bowl that's a lot smaller than the circumference of the pedestal, this is when you may want to hot glue the fabric cord around the base (at the bottom) of the bowl. This just gives it a more "finished" look.

I think I may try this project when I'm in the workshop, this week. If you try it, please send me a picture of your finished product, and I'll post it!

Now forgive me for assuming that you all know who Madame Leota is.... but for those of you that may not.... be sure to click here!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


There aren't too many tv shows... especially reality shows, that I'm a fan of. Except this one.

The Count and I have been fans of Face Off, since Season One. So if you haven't had a chance to check it out, you really need to give it a chance. Especially if you're one of those people like me....  who love to see how people come up with all those crazy monsters and movie characters.

Besides getting a close up look, at how these talented artists create some really amazing creatures....  it's fantastic inspiration for Halloween costumes and theme parties!

Give it a try, I bet you get hooked..... Check out the link on the SyFy Channel! Happy Face Off Tuesday!

Monday, August 26, 2013


I really love looking for amazing furniture to fill up the Manor, and I get so excited when I see funky stuff like this!

Check out this awesome chair from it's so stylish, but also fun.... one of my favorite combinations! Be sure to look at their website, they have some really unique, fantastic furniture!

I would love to have a set of these as dining room chairs.... wouldn't that be just fabulous for a spooktacular dinner party!?!

Being the crafty one that I am, I think this could be a fun project to give life to some old chairs we've got lying around.

I'd either draw on my own design, or find a print I like, and make a copy on a laser printer.... trace it onto the chair, and then hand paint it with some black fabric paint.

But if you're not much of a painter, I suggest the "paint by numbers" method. It's easy.... using a transfer on a piece of test fabric, you just paint (or "trace" over the transfer, with the fabric paint)  to see if you like the results. Then, once you feel you've mastered it, I think you're ready for the real thing!

I know you can do it, give it a try.... and don't forget to send me the pictures of your finished product!

Saturday, August 24, 2013


If you're anything like me, you've got lots of housework to get today. Cauldrons need scrubbing, the dungeon needs a good layer of dust.... and the dreaded laundry. I wish I liked doing laundry... but I don't. If only something could make it more fun.....

Ok, so why haven't I seen these before, and why don't I have them?!
I was just hopping around on the www and I found these really cool clothespins! I'm always looking for cool stuff to make my dull, everyday tasks around the Manor, so much more fun!
Could you just imagine hanging out all your laundry with these? I for one, would love to see the Count's favorite capes hanging out in the moonlight, to dry.
They're sold on Amazon, but I if you check out Shut Up and Take My Money .com, you'll see lots of other cool stuff, too. Check it out!

I think I may need to do some online shopping this afternoon...... Happy Saturday!

Friday, August 23, 2013



Happy Friday to all you Halloweenies!

What a great way to start the weekend...... You all know how much I've blogged about being an e-bay addict. Well, I have to admit, I just can't help myself. Look what the mailman left for me this morning, it's the complete series of "The Addams Family"!

I think tonite I'll make the Count a nice dinner of roast beast, some of my favorite wine, and we'll watch a few episodes of The Addams Family. How romantic.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Nothing says "Welcome to our haunted home" more than a nice set of bloody towels for the bathroom.

I found this picture on Pinterest, and I just had to share! This is one of my all time favorite projects.... for one, it's super easy, and two.... wait until you hear the screams coming from the guest bathroom! Priceless!

One of the themes that is a favorite for any bathroom is the Bates Motel theme, from the classic movie "Psycho". Add a few framed black and white photos of the Bates Motel, also post a hotel check out policy on the back of the door. Don't forget the bloody shower curtain, bath mat, and the towels to match! (I actually got an old pair of dish towels and cut out some felt letters to read BATES MOTEL.... and sewed them on! Super easy! But if you can't sew, just use some fabric glue, or even "Stitch Witch" and apply it by using a hot iron)

I usually find these goodies at the dollar store. Get a clear (or white) shower curtain, a set of white towels, and a plain white bath mat. (I actually did this project for under $20.00!) Now all you need is some red acrylic (gloss) craft paint (you want to use acrylic because you'll just need soapy water to clean up afterwards) and lots of paper plates and towels.

Now let me warn you.... this can get a little messy, so I suggest putting down an old sheet or tablecloth on the floor for your work area.... trust me. All you do is lay out the item you want to paint. Pour some paint on a paper plate, and then press your hand into it. Now, take a paper towel, and test it out, to see if you like your hand print. If so, apply more paint, then press it on to the item (shower curtain or towel) Don't forget to smear it around a bit, and add a few splatter marks. Repeat the same process for the towels.

Now, if you're going to do a bath mat, use your foot to make the print on the mat, using the same technique. So easy, and very high on the shriek factor! But let me tell you, once you try this.... you'll have so much fun, you'll look for other stuff to paint. I've done tablecloths, napkins, lampshades and kitchen curtains....

The possibilities are endless! Have a bloody great day!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Yes, black is the new black..... actually, nothing replaces black. It's classy. it's macabre.... it's all the things that you want in creating great looks for Halloween.

I'm a huge fan of black spray paint. Flat or gloss.... black paint is the best! And every Halloween Homemaker needs to keep a hefty supply in your craft closet.
You can transform everyday objects and make cool collections, just by grouping a bunch of objects together and giving them a good coat of black spray paint.

*Remember, these are strictly for decorations only! Do not paint anything that will have any food or beverages in them!

Now if you're new to spray painting, here's a few suggestions. First of all, work in a well ventilated space anytime that you are using spray paint.... the fumes can be overwhelming, sometimes. Also read the directions, and always apply spray paint in several thin coats. You never want to spray too much in one spot, or it'll run and cause drips..... (unless of course you want to do that.... I've been known to create some pretty cool bloody pieces with red paint.... but that's for our next lesson....)

Start simple. Get a can of  flat black, and a can of gloss black spray paint. Pick a few things, like some artificial pumpkins, candlesticks, old picture frames (remove the glass), maybe some old jars and books..... then spray some of the items with the flat, and some with the gloss. Let them dry, and then group the objects together. Set on a mantel always looks good..... or on a side table in the corner.
Maybe spray paint a few dried flowers, while you're at it, and put some in the jars... you get the idea.
Now you've just learned how to create a pulled-together look.... and all it took was some old junk, you had lying around the house.... and some black spray paint! You're welcome.....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


It's good to finally be back!

Please forgive my absence, I was quite under the weather, and I know that's normally a good thing for the Halloween Queen.... but this time it was actually... quite a pain in the butt.

Thank you for all the kindness that was sent my way, and no need to worry, I'm alive and well. Well, at least for now, anyway.....

But I was jolted from my slumber.... only to realize that there's only 71 days until Halloween!

There's so much to do.... let's get started!

I suggest going to the front door and checking out what you've got to work with. Some entry way decorations might take a little bit of planning to pull off a magical effect, like this.

I usually sketch out what I want it to look like, take a few measurements, and start making my supply list! And use magazines (since all the How-To-Halloween publications are on the racks, right now!) and the www to look for new and creative ideas.

Maybe a creepy graveyard or crazy, mad scientist laboratory.... the possibilities are endless! But we need to start planning, right now!

I missed you all.... glad to be back!